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Mar 31, 1998

Audubon says it will sue over land grab

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While those in the tourism industry try to hammer out a unified position, one group involved in the business of conservation says it is prepared to fight to the bitter end for what it believes is rightfully theirs. In May of 1993, the Belize Audubon Society was issued a title for the land and building at number twelve Fort Street, now used as its headquarters. According to Executive Director Osmany Salas, the gesture was Government’s way of thanking the Society for its often lonely efforts over the years in the field of natural resource conservation. Salas says everything was sailing along quite smoothly, until a few months ago when the organization learnt that government had given the same piece of property to another interest.

Osmany Salas, Executive Director, B.A.S.

“We learnt quite recently that the Belize Port Authority had been issued with a grant fiat dated December ’97, for what is known as the Fort Point area, that included our property at 12 Fort Street. So we immediately informed the Ministry of Natural Resource of this and we have a letter from the Ministry of Natural Resources dated January of this year where the Permanent Secretary, informed us that after discussion with the Lands Commissioner, they admitted that the grant fiat issued to the Belize Port Authority was erroneously issued and that within two weeks of the date of that letter that they would rectify it – the Belize Port Authority grant fiat. Up to date that rectification has not been carried out.”

Salas says all efforts, including letters, phone calls and even visits to Belmopan, to try and settle the problem amicably, have so far been unsuccessful. The Audubon official made it clear at this morning’s meeting that they are now prepared to take the issue to court.

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